Eighteen Southern Crescent-area students graduated recently from the University of Georgia at Griffin, each taking part in the university’s traditional “calling of the dogs” ceremony.
The class also took part in a ceremony somewhat unique to the university’s Griffin campus. In its an annual “bricklaying” ceremony, each graduate laid a brick bearing their name and class. The bricks are situated on the floor of the campus’s central pavilion.
Three Henry County residents — Kassandra Cook of Locust Grove and Whitney Perry and Kathleen McGranahan, both of Stockbridge — were among the honored graduates on May 10. The school is in neighboring Spalding County.
The degrees were conferred upon students in five of the campus’ eight undergraduate degree completion programs. Graduates included six students from the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences; four from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences; three from the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences; three from the Terry College of Business; and two from the College of Education.
Cook graduated with a bachelor’s degree in environmental resource science. Perry received a bachelor’s in biological science. And McGranahan earned her degree in family and consumer sciences.
The graduates placed commemorative bricks on the floor of the Naomi Chapman Woodruff Agricultural Pavilion, an annual tradition held to mark the students’ place in history at the campus.
Officials noted 188 students have received degrees to date, from UGA-Griffin, and most of them have been non-traditional students. The Griffin campus serves many military veterans and has a student populace with an average age of 35.
Perry, for example, works at a primary care physician’s office in Griffin and has been employed there for the past six years.
“I was looking for a college close to home and work and had always wanted to go to UGA, but moving to Athens was not a possibility for me,” said Perry, 25. “I was ecstatic when I found out about UGA-Griffin from a college fair at another college. I was able to get a UGA degree without having to go to Athens.”
Perry reflected fondly on her educational experience at the Griffin campus.
“The small classes were wonderful for me and made my education feel like a one-on-one learning experience,” she said. “Every professor was so nice and would go out of their way to help their students. Moving forward, I am applying to pharmacy school for fall 2013 admission.”
The physician’s assistant noted her graduation from UGA-Griffin as a hallmark in her career. She and others in her class heard encouraging words from speakers Doris Christopher, the director of academic programs at UGA-Griffin, and Laura Jolly, UGA’s vice president for instruction, during the milestone commencement ceremonies.
“In my role as assistant vice president for academic affairs and director of academic programs, I am responsible for the day-to-day management and academic direction of the campus,” said Christopher, also the assistant vice president for academic affairs at UGA-Griffin.
Christopher said she is in charge of developing new undergraduate and graduate degree programs at UGA-Griffin.
“We also offer four graduate degrees,” she added. “We will be adding a new doctorate and undergraduate degree in 2013. We will continue to expand our programs to meet the needs of future students.”